A member of a treasured New Orleans family, Jason Marsalis, is partnering with Basin Street Records on the release of Melody Reimagined: book 1, the newest album from the percussionist and the 21st Century Trad Band. The album is the first in an ambitious series that aims to explore Marsalis’ musical roots. Elements of jazz with a wide range of music as a whole, and his interpretation of such, will be predominately featured. Marsalis has proven his ability as a drummer, holding his own as he performs side by side with his immensely talented family. He has since completely reinvented himself as a vibraphonist, staying in the realm of percussion while showcasing the versatility to hone a completely different sound and style.
His skills on the vibraphone will surely be highlighted on Melody Reimagined: book 1. The entirety of the 21st Century Trad Band showcases some real musical talent overall; with Austin Johnson on piano, Will Goble on bass and Dave Potter on drums, the sounds of the group mesh seamlessly.
The concept for the album evolved out of live performances in which the band would play a mixture of original work and covers of jazz standards. Harmonies and chord changes from the American songbook, traditional jazz, and even 1980s pop music inspire their newest works.
Various tracks on the album demonstrate such a mélange: Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” influences Marsalis’ track “Passionate Dancer”; A mash-up of two jazz classics – Horace Silver’s “Peace” and Charlie Haden’s “Silence” – is transformed into “A Peaceful Silence”; A tribute to Marsalis’ mother is observed in the ballad “80,” based on classic jazz chord progression and featuring two other members of the Marsalis family.
Melody Reimagined: book 1 is scheduled for release on January 19, but you can catch Jason Marsalis and the 21st Century Trad Band in New Orleans on December 30 at Snug Harbor.